*Move seen giving more visibility for the biggest bank in the region in the international arena
QNB, Qatar's largest lender, is all set to allow higher up to 49% foreign ownership limit (FOL) in its capital, a move that gives more visibility for the bank in the international arena.
The bank intends to recommend to the extraordinary general assembly to approve increasing the percentage of non-Qatari ownership in the company's capital to 49% from 25% in accordance with the applicable provisions of Law No. 9 of 2014 regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in the economic activity and subject to approval of the regulators concerned.
"An extraordinary general assembly will be convened to present and approve the proposed amendment to QNB’s Articles’ of Association by adding an agenda item in respect of the above after securing the appropriate regulatory approvals of the proposed amendment," a spokesman for the lender said.
Many listed companies, it is learnt, are in the process of enhancing the FOL in view of the upgrade by MSCI, Standard & Poor’s-Dow Jones and FTSE Russell.
The move by QNB comes in the backdrop of Doha witnessing the advent of exchange traded fund, which tracks the 20-stock Qatar Index.
So far, Islamic Holding Group, Nakilat, Milaha, Ezdan Real Estate, Commercial Bank, Aamal Company, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance and Doha Bank are among those received approval from the Qatar Central Securities Depository to enhance the FOL up to 49%.
A Deutsche Bank report had earlier said Qatar's decision to enhance FOL could result in additional inflow of foreign funds (active and passive).
Historically Qatar had only two categories – Qatari and non-Qatari investors, but with an Emiri decree stipulating increased FOL, the country moved towards a three-tier system where investors have been classified as Qatari, Gulf Cooperation Council and foreign investors.
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